Friday, August 31, 2012

A Rant & A Meme

Initiate Grumpy Bulldog rant!!!
First up, the rant.  I've been annoyed at the seemingly tepid response to some entries lately.  I mean it seems like no one's really cared about the last Two-Fer Tuesdays.  I'll probably have to get rid of that segment, though I have them all scheduled through the end of the year so that will give me until 2013 to come up with something new.  Wednesday's it took hours before anyone seemed to notice it, and then stupid Blogger marked that comment as "Spam".  Argh.  Even the trivia questions, where I'm literally paying you to answer them can take like a half-hour for anyone to answer.  This despite that I clearly announce the exact freaking time when it's going to be posted and in some cases I post days ahead of time to remind you when it will be posted.  That's why I had to have a poll to let people decide when they wanted the question to post so maybe I can drum up a little interest.

If I can't even get you people to take free money (or virtually free money) from me then I must really be doing something wrong here.  And while occasionally there are some different people who respond, it's mostly the same 4-5 people responding to everything.  On top of that I've only gotten one new "follower" in about three months.  Though part of that might be people just don't use that widget anymore.  I still see it as a prestige thing and wonder why so many other blogs (even ones that barely post) have hundreds of "followers" and I can't even get over 100.  Incidentally my Grumpy Bulldog blog still has more "followers" than this one and I haven't posted a new entry there since March 31!

I try to remind myself to be patient.  These things take time.  Maybe if the book ever gets released that will help drive more people to this site.  But I am not a patient man about most things.  Like most of America, I want it NOW!!!!

Then I wonder:  what do I have to do?  As the Joker said through Anthony Michael Hall in The Dark Knight, "What do I have to do to get you people off of the bench and into the game?"   I mean, what do you people want to see?  At this point I should just start screaming like Maximus in Gladiator, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??!!!"

My philosophy was that I didn't want this to be another boring author's blog.  I didn't want to post a bunch of phony baloney writing tips about "show versus tell" and "cures for writer's block" and all that other crap.  I mean if you want that I think there are plenty of other blogs doing that and it seemed to me there was no sense in going along with the herd.  So I've been trying to do different things, especially with the rotating Wednesday posts.  With some like the Comic Captions and the Superhero Trivia I try to be more interactive so people can feel like they're involved with the blog, but as I said even that doesn't seem to rouse a lot of interest.

Anyway, if you want writing tips I can do that.  If you want me to talk about TV shows maybe I can start watching those.  Or maybe you want more personal stuff like vacation stories and such?  I can't promise those would be very interesting.  Do you want more rambling, sleep-deprived rants like this?

And I keep harping on this, but I keep these Fridays and Mondays open if you want to do a guest post.  You can post whatever the hell you want so long as you keep it clean.  I mean if you want to pimp your book or reveal your cover or any of that stuff you're more than free to do so.  Though if you want to write a love letter about Mitt Romney or extoll the virtues of the Tea Party I'd probably tell you to take a hike.  Otherwise all you have to do is Contact Me by Email or Twitter or just a freaking blog comment and I can set something.  I really don't get why more people don't take advantage of that, just like why no one ever asks ME to beta read their book or any of that; are you that intimidated by my awesomeness?  (Little joke.)

One thing I'm pretty sure of is you don't want me talking about old Batman comics, so I'm not going to do that for a while.  Anything else you want, just let me know because I'm not writing this blog to entertain myself.  It's supposed to be to entertain you so you think I'm all cool and witty and want to buy my book.  Cha-ching!

Or I can rip off more cute bulldog pictures:


Maybe you want me to do more of these stupid "awards" or memes and crap.  I find chain letters annoying but people just can't seem to get enough of them.  So here you go, here's this "Be Inspired" one I got from Michael Offutt on Wednesday.  (There's nothing more inspiring than answering a bunch of questions everyone else is answering!)

I think you're supposed to talk about a book you're writing but I'm sort of between books right now so I'll just make it about the one that should (fingers crossed) be released next month.

  1. What is the name of your book? A Hero's Journey (see that badge on the right with the cover and saying Coming in September 2012!?)
  2. Where did the idea for your book come from?  This is a long story that began in 2002, though I had tried my hand at other superhero stories back in the 90s without much luck.  Anyway, I was actually trying to write a literary story about a TV show focused on a superhero, so I needed to come up with a character and for whatever reason I used The Scarlet Knight.  Though in that incarnation the Scarlet Knight was a man (Percival Graves) who I use in the current book as the previous Scarlet Knight.  No one of course wanted my wonderful literary novel but I reused the character in a dark, gritty novella that was kind of a modern Don Quixote, something Hollywood has now copied ad nauseum.  That also didn't do anything but I kept plugging away and wrote the short story Heart of A Hero in 2008.  That was when Emma Earl was introduced, though if you read that story in the Special Features section (did you even know there was a Special Features tab?  There is!) you'll see some differences.  Really that was more of a Saturday morning cartoon kind of story, at least at the beginning and then it goes all Quantum Leap.  Anyway, after my opus Where You Belong, I decided I needed a break from serious stuff and so I reread the Heart of A Hero story and thought, why not make it a novel?  Boom!
  3. In what genre would you classify your book? Speculative Fiction/Urban Fantasy
  4. Who would you pick to play your characters in a movie adaptation? No idea at this point. I'm not really sure who the "it" girl of the moment is who could do it.  Jennifer Lawrence?  But she's got all those Hunger Games movies (that they'll probably split now into 7 separate movies each) and other stuff so she might be too busy.  As a second choice and because I saw her name earlier I thought of Mia Wasikowska, who was in that Alice in Wonderland movie a couple years ago and also in "Lawless" that's out this weekend.  She could probably play a pasty nerd who is still tough enough to beat the shit out of some bad guys when called upon.  Though really this kind of question reminds me of "Free Enterprise" where Bill Shatner is discussing who to cast as Calpurnia in his epic six-hour musical of Julius Caesar and he's like "If we can't get Julia Roberts to do it then maybe we could get Sharon Stone (who was still a big deal then).  Or maybe Heather Locklear.  I know Heather, she's great!"  The thing is there has to be a book first and then that book has to be successful enough to sell movie rights and then they have to have enough money to cast any decent actors and in any case I will have absolutely no input on that decision.
  5. Give us a one sentence synopsis of your book? A young woman finds a suit of magic armor and has to save the world.
  6. Is your book already published? In theory it should be soon.  In theory.
  7. How long did it take you to write this book? So picking up from question 2, I wrote the first draft in 2009 in like six weeks.  And it SUCKED.  There were a lot of plot holes it seemed to me.  So I regrouped and decided on how I could plug those holes.  The second draft then I wrote a few weeks later, and again it probably took six weeks or so.  The second draft is narrated by Marlin the ghost, which was fun but had some drawbacks, like how does Marlin know all this other shit going down?  It got to be cumbersome.  That didn't stop me from plowing ahead with 2 sequels!  Then I guess in the winter of 2010 sometime I adapted that into a graphic novel script.  That turned out to be pretty long so I cut it down and really if anyone's interested, that's still out there.  All I need is someone to draw it.  Anyway, about November 2010 I had finished the last of eight books in the series plus a prequel.  Then I thought I really ought to go back and redo the first one.  So by the end of the year I'd finished what would essentially be the fourth first draft of the story.  In spring 2011 I edited it and started sending it out first to agents (who were not interested because she doesn't sparkle or get raped up the ass by some hot guy or whatever).  Well I did have one agent ask for a full, which necessitated a lot of last second paring because to try and draw more interest I'd lied and said it was only 85,000 words when it was really 105,000.  See the Deleted Scenes to see a lot of what got cut.  Anyway, she said it was too weird and passed.  So I sent it out to small publishers.  I didn't hear anything until January 2012 when the people who are in theory publishing the book accepted it.  Then in March I had to turn it in for edits, which I didn't hear anything until May.  So I had to make their edits plus I had Mr. Offutt read it and he gave me some stuff to edit.  Long story short by the end of June I turned it in.  I heard they're having a "proofreader" looking it over before it goes online, so let's hope that person doesn't fuck it up too much.  Was that more than you ever wanted to know?  Probably.
  8. What other books in your genre would you compare it to? I've read a couple of superhero-related books.  It's not quite like Soon I Will Be Invincible in that there's only one superhero and I'm not trying to parody all the comic book tropes and such.  I think it's better than this After the Golden Age book I read where the main character (the daughter of a couple of superheroes) gets kidnapped like six times by the villains in the book.  I mean I like to think Emma is a lot smarter than that.  But anyway, it would fit somewhere in that genre.  Of course I'd love to compare it to the recent Batman movies except my book involves magic armor, ghosts, witches, and a guy who lives in the sewers and talks to rats so there's not that much realism.
  9. Which authors inspired you to write this book? I think reading Michael Chabon's "Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" is what made me want to do the literary book in 2002 that led in a circuitous way to this book, so there you go.  I think I should note I was not an avid comic book fan so I think that's about the only reason I ever got interested in this subject.
  10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.  Sex!  Wait, there isn't any.  Damn it.  How about that the Scarlet Knight has lots of neat powers?  She can turn invisible, bullets can't hurt her, she can jump really high with her boots, and climb walls with her gloves.  And she's got an awesome samurai-type sword that glows and can be remotely controlled by her mind!  The Black Dragoon, her mortal foe, is no slouch either.  He's got these bad-ass Freddy Krueger claws, except he can shoot them like darts!  Or he can make them grow really long to use as a spear.  Doesn't that sound totally bad-ass?
I'm supposed to inflict this chain letter on other people, but I'm sure everyone else has already done it because I'm the last to do any of these stupid things.

Anyway, just to let you know (not that you people seem to pay attention) there might be a Labor Day guest post.  If not then there will be another Two-Fer Tuesday whether you want there to be or not.


  1. Hey, your 95 members are a whole lot more than I have!

    I visit, PT, but don't know anything about comics, for example, so I can't participate with a comment. Please know that I do stop by, and I do recognize your considerable talents.


  2. I liked the Batman posts, brought back fond memories of a time when I could understand what Bane was saying.

  3. I don't really know that much about Batman, but I found your last post really interesting.

    The whole thing about blogging...if you want more comments you have to comment on other people's blogs. That IS the only way. It doesn't matter what you post about here. I know this, yet I don't have time to do it. At least not until I have more books out there. Marketing is harder than writing the book.

  4. "Sex! Wait, there isn't any. Damn it." Very funny.

    So yeah, I am entertained. I'm just a notoriously bad blogger.

  5. Thanks for doing the meme. Out of curiosity, why don't you have any sex in the Scarlet Knight books? They are pretty squeaky clean, and I like a little sex here and there. I mean I'm not asking for pornographic descriptions but don't you think Emma could at least get the cobwebs taken care of that are growing down there? Oh well, it must be a marketing choice or something.

    Blogging can be frustrating. I actually don't know if the follower widget is helpful at all. I think that of the 1500 pageviews I get in a day, only 36 of them are to my current post. Which means that 36 people actually visit per day to see what I'm up to (you are one of them). The other 1460 some odd pageviews are to posts I've written in the past that each garner several hundred a day based off of google search results and search optimization.

    I actually went back to those posts that have such huge traffic and put an advertisement for my book embedded within them. I figured why not? Since no one that currently reads my blog every day is going to go and look at the old stuff.

    1. If you remember that huge rambling email I sent you, the sex happens in books 4-5 and also some in 7-8.

  6. Not that you probably have any interest in anything I have to say, but:
    Often, your posts don't lend to commenting, like the Tuesday thing. You post the quotes from your book, but it's difficult to find things to say about them week after week once you've already said "can't wait for it to come out" several times. I think a better gauge of interest in something like that is page views. Do your Tuesday posts get just as many page views or do they slump?
    And, not that I do this, but those questions that people tag on at the end of their posts do seem to actually help with the comments. Even knowing that, I'm completely resistant to doing it, but they do seem to work.

  7. UGH. I hate those questions. HATE 'EM.

    But I loved this post, and you know why? Because it's YOU. Some of the more professional posts come across as you, sanitized, and I read people's blogs because they're interesting. You're more interesting when you're ranting and/or talking about things you care about.

    As for comments and readers, I try not to sweat it. First off, if I read a post, I always comment, and everyone should. But not everyone wants to. You're a creator, not a consumer -- so when you read, you want to create and comment.

    Most people are just consumers and don't want to create their own interactive works. So they read and don't comment, and that's okay, in the long run. Think about this: How many times have you read a magazine article and then emailed the author to say "Read this! Loved it!" Probably not ever. I've never ever written to an author or even spent much time looking up authors on the internet to see if they have a blog, not even authors I really like. And when I did find one like the guy who wrote "20th Century Ghosts," I never left a comment on his blog.

    The point being: I loved what they wrote but didn't comment.

    So, sure, it's EASY to comment on a post, now, but that's only half the battle. You have to WANT to comment, and most people don't see that as their desire or obligation.

    I'd love it if I got, like, a zillion comments on my posts. some people do, like the Hyperbole and a Half girl. But then I realize that I'm horrible about responding to comments so I don't give the feedback that I should. So I just write and hope some people leave comments.

    But don't do that "What do you think?" thing at the end of posts. I HATE THAT. Just be YOU and write more posts like this.


  8. Well, I have found my blogging time has been cut in half about 4 times in the past few months, I know I've been missing more and more posts by everybody. I still do what I can though.

    And I figure that my blog is useless for the most part. It takes more work to get readers than I'm putting into it and so I'm planning on cutting back my time spent there. I'm just doing what I want right now. If someone wants to read then that's great, if they don't then that's okay too.

  9. PT:

    You've been blogging much longer than I have and no doubt writing longer as well so I question the wisdom of giving advice, but since you asked.... I follow your blog because I find YOU very interesting. I don't know much about super heroes and that seems to be a big part of your focus right now. I hope you won't take offense at this next part but I read about two hundred blogs a week and those devoted to writers trying to draw attention to their novels are among the least enjoyable. I feel like the authors of these blogs are saying, "Hey, I'm a good writer but I'm not going to expose you to any of it here." I wish more writers would treat their blogs more seriously and use their blogs as showcases for their writing and storytelling talents. Believe me when I say I'm a fan and I'll read whatever you write, but if you want more followers (and not everyone does) entertain your readers with the high quality of your writing. I hope I'm not out of line.

    1. Actually Neil Vogler and I have something planned later this year that would do more of that.

  10. Pat based on your comments I think you may have hit on it. One, be yourself. Two, talk about things people have an opinion on. Three, Google followers are nice, but don't really mean anything. Four, I like your posts man. I got your back.

  11. I can echo the sentiments of always checking out your posts, but I never know what to comment about, mostly because I also don't know much about the subjects you post about. (And, admittedly, have never held much interest in them.)

    I've always enjoyed your rant-y posts the most, mostly because I read them thinking "Thank god, somebody finally gets this shit." And I love your candidness about blogging in general, even if I'm "guilty" of some of the same stuff in my own posts. (Eh, I like asking questions in my blog, so whatever.)

  12. You're not the only blogger I'm following who's gotten antsy about followers actually being interested (I'm guilty of that, too). The two-sentences thing kind of got old after a while. They're random and all they do is provide an excuse to plug the book. I'd say, if you want to write about the book, write about the book. You don't need tricks. You don't even particularly need comments. Remember that this blogging stuff is your forum. You're doing it because you want to. (If you're secretly doing it for publicity, well, that's fine too.)

    Although I may not be the most reliable source on how to maintain a blog.

  13. I like your blog. I have no idea why more people aren't following it. For what it's worth, my Eddard's Diaries aren't doing any better. I've offered a challenge (had one taker) and a contest (no takers), so none gives two flicks about them. Happily my rants get more reads than anything else. And apparently so do yours, judging from the comment stream. On my end, its a time issue for me. Following other people's blogs is a time cost that I refuse to donate more than a couple of hours per week. Happily, of the blogs I follow, yours gets more attention than many others. I like what you're doing even though I often don't say so. I enjoy the superhero genre, even though I don't read alot of comics anymore. I like the world you're building.

    At the end of the day, I have come to believe that as I'm doing my blog mostly for me, everyone else, whether they read my blog or not, can get, well, I'd use profanity here, but it's your blog, and I respect it.

    So read my blog if you want, or don't. I have 31 followers, and only 31 followers. I doubt I'll have many more. Their loss.

    That said, if you're game, I might be interested in a guest post sometime. Trouble is I need to pick that date carefully. I might be able to do it with a couple weeks notice. Sadly, I'm also a nobody, but I do promise to keep it clean.

    For what t's worth, they also may be the longest comment I've ever left for anyone. I hope the grumpy bulldog returns. I like rants.

  14. Well Grumpy; you see it took me two days or so to come and respond. Sorry Dude, but my blogging has taken a back seat in the last couple months. My blog is mostly for participating in blogfests and finding people to chat with - outside a chat room. Seriously, I get bored with all the "how to's" of writing and blogging 101. But I've been hanging out in the blogs for about 3 years now, and the stuff get recycled by new people . .

    I enjoy your posts, but I read in my google reader a lot, and not always inspired to comment - not just on your posts, but on anybody's. I usually end up being comment #160 something on Alex Cavanaugh's blog when I do comment, cuz it takes me so long to get there. But the followers gadget does work; you have to follow a blog to read it in the reader.

    Since I have problems keeping up with posts to my own blog and the RFW site I rarely guest on other people's sites. Wouldn't know what to say. I do like hosting other authors though - so if you'd like to guest on my blog and write about your writing experience, that would be awesome :) And when I get my Cyborg fairy tale completed, I will take you up on your offer to beta read - if you're still doing that sort thing when I get it finished.

    Moving on; loved your answers to the meme; especially #5, the one sentence synopsis. I enjoyed reading your story of how the book came to be - and who is your publisher? This book sounds really intriguing.

    And yes, you need to have patience with the publication process. I'm still waiting to receive my edits for the An Honest Lie publication that is supposed to come out in October. I hate editing on a short deadline. (Six weeks to write a novel? Seriously? Wow. But even with plot holes, at least the story was drafted; I've been writing on the Cyborg short story for about a year now.)

    Have a good weekend PT. Send me an e-mail if you want to guest on my blog. (My e-mail is in my profile) Some of the stuff I'd ask for is in this meme, and it could be good advertising for the book when it is released.




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